Saturday, June 9, 2007


12th French Film Festival, Cinema 3, Shang Cineplex

I expected to see the French version of this known documentary about the flight of the emperor penguins since after all it is the French Film Festival, right? But lo and behold it was the Tagalog version with Sharon Cuneta (a local actress) narrating the story in her sometimes high pitched voice complete with giggles and trying to be cute effects. Blah! It was entitled "Penguin, Penguin paano ka ginawa?" ("Penguin, Penguin how were you made?") which is a play with words on a popular Filipino song or is it a poem? (I'm not sure) called "Bata, bata paano ka ginawa?" ("Child, child, how were you made?").

Nevertheless despite being visibly disappointed, this 85 minute documentary was interesting to watch, quite informative and educational. Drawing parallels with the trappings of human existence - it has all the necessary ingredients of a good story telling movie.
Conflicts in the form of some mother penguins trying to steal the other babies. Violence can be manifested through bitter fights among them as well as lurking dangers from menacing enemies (seals, eagles) in the chain. Romantic interludes once they choose their partners among the throngs of penguins and their mating rituals is like watching an elegant ballet dance. Laughter/joy mostly found at the sight of their little chick penguins hatching out of their eggs. Sad moments occur when some of the mother penguins die on their way back to the place where their hungry chicks are waiting to be fed. Dramatic highlights in the life cycle of an emperor penguin include trying everything to keep warm during those unforgivable blizzards. Plus add in the cuteness factor - because ever so often you end up going "awww" every time you see an adorable furry little penguin chick shivering in the freezing weather.

But most of all I admire the fact that it is the male penguin who takes care of the egg for 4 months going without food while the female penguin goes off to hunt for food miles away from the breeding ground. How's that for (penguin) women's lib, huh?

As the French say "C'est genial!"

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